The Town of Erin (Erin) is in the design phase of a new sewage treatment plant, and the Ontario Rivers Alliance (ORA) is concerned that the sewage plant effluent will endanger some of the most productive and highly valued brook trout populations in the West Credit River. Continue reading →
The motion, presented on Monday night, suggested by the committee calls for North Huron Council to approve an engineering study to determine the future of the dam and set out a schedule for fundraising for the rehabilitation of the structure. If that schedule cannot be met, however, the recommendation calls for the removal of the structure.
The Gorrie Dam failed as the result of an extreme rain and flood event in June of 2017. The dam had failed before, so the ORA advocated for its decommissioning, rather than its repair.
Part of the earthen berm to the south of the dam failed in June 2017. In June 2019, after reviewing a study of alternatives for the dam, the Conservation Authority membership decided to begin the process of decommissioning the structure which is located at Gorrie Conservation Area.
It is crucial that we take action on infrastructure that would put citizens at risk, degrade water quality, threaten our fisheries, or that jeopardize the ecosystem services that healthy rivers provide.
The Maitland Valley Conservation Authority has decided to decommission the dam and will move ahead with decommissioning in 2021.
Howson Dam at capacity in the 24 June 2017 storm event.
ORA has seen few dams that attract tourists to a town, but large healthy rivers and fisheries appear to be more attractive, especially to anglers and canoeists, that can bring additional tourist dollars into the community.
On September 28, 2018, you requested, on behalf of the Ontario Rivers Alliance and other partners, that the City be required to prepare an individual environmental assessment for the replacement of Riverside Dam. I am taking this opportunity to inform you that I have decided that elevating the project to an individual environmental assessment is not required.
ORA understands the pressure municipalities are under when communities rally to maintain or rebuild their beloved mill ponds. However, it is up to all authorities and municipalities to take a leadership role that places public safety and landscape scale ecological integrity above local individual or group interests.
Looking downstream at Howson Dam on the North Maitland River.
On 23 – 24 June of 2017, the upstream Gorrie Dam failed and the Howson Dam was at capacity during an extreme rain event and flood when 175 mm of rain fell in just 7 hours, placing more than 150 property owners at risk and resulting in an estimated $11-million in damages in the Town of Harriston. This severe rain event broke previous records by approximately 40% and was the second highest flow on the North Maitland in the 48 years of record. Fortunately, no one was killed; however, it could have been much worse, as in October of 2015, when a South Carolina flood breached 18 dams, and resulted in 16 deaths.
Drought conditions could place additional stress on riverine ecosystems, while more extreme rainfall will heighten the risk of dam failures (18 dams were breached in a South Carolina flood in October of 2015) with rapid release of high volumes of water. There have also been recent dam failures right here in Ontario – the Gorrie Dam failure last year in Wingham was the most recent, putting more than 150 property owners at risk.
The City of London’s Civic Works Committee has made a decision on the recommended preferred option of a “Free Flowing River”. As the London Free Press said, “After a unanimous vote to recommend decommissioning the dam at Tuesday’s civic works committee, when and how to do it could be the next chapter in the city’s Springbank dam saga. There’s still a rubber-stamping needed from city council next week, but the writing clearly is on the wall”.
The American Eel Needs Your Help! You have an opportunity to support the recovery of a species that has declined by 99% of its original population, has been completely extirpated from extensive areas of its native Ontario range, and is in steep decline where it still exists. The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry has prepared a Draft Government Response Station for the Recovery of the American Eel in Ontario, and you have until January 11th to sign the Petition below. More information can be found here. To add your own comments just click on the letter and type. Thank you for your help! Continue reading →